It’s Official: Taylor Lautner Will be Back for ‘New Moon’

Twilight fans can howl joyously in the night all they want; a statement was released yesterday noting that, after a fair amount of media speculation and fan support, Taylor Lautner, 16, will be reprising his role as Jacob Black in the film’s sequel, New Moon.

The announcement, which came directly from New Moon’s director Chris Weitz (American Pie, The Golden Compass), was published on the official website of Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer.

“I’m very happy to announce that Taylor Lautner will be playing Jacob Black in New Moon and that he’s doing so with the enthusiastic support of Summit Entertainment, the producers, and Stephenie Meyer,” Weitz stated.

“The characters in Stephenie’s books go through extraordinary changes of circumstance and also appearance; so it is not surprising that there has been speculation about whether the same actor would portray a character who changes in so many surprising ways throughout the series,” the director continues. “But it was my first instinct that Taylor was, is, and should be Jacob, and that the books would be best served by the actor who is emotionally right for the part.”

Meyer herself added, “I’d just like to add that I was very much a part of this decision. My first priority was always what was best for New Moon—what was going to give us the best possible movie. I’m truly thrilled that Taylor was the one who proved to the director, to Summit, and to me that he is the best possible Jacob we could have.”

Weitz took over helming duties on the Twilight movie franchise after the first film’s director, Catherine Hardwicke, was ousted by Summit.

Nevertheless, Hardwicke’s film has taken an ample bite out of the box office since its late November release. To date, the film has grossed $177 million in the U.S., far exceeding its reported $37 million price tag.

New Moon swings into production in the coming weeks, and is expected to have a November 20 release date.

So for this year, at least, Taylor Lautner can breathe a sigh of relief…and expect to be very, very busy.